living and working in Helsinki
Erkki Pirtola has been at the center of Finnish avant-garde art, as an artist, artcritic and curator since the early 1970's. Dangerously avant-garde, Pirtola does not compromise with himself or his ideas. His developed sensitivity goes hand in hand with his ability to discover new artists. Moreover his area of interest transcends those of generations or, for that matter, artistic media. PIrtola has further documented the Finnish artscene on video - its exhibitions and performances - since 1985. If someone has been able to stay in touch with contemporary Finnish art on all levels it is Erkki Pirtola. As the first individual, he received in 2001 the prestigious Vuoden Valopilkku prize which is descerned every year by Yle Television, the Finnish public broadcasting company, for a significant cultural achievement. Recently Pirtola curated Do It Yourself - Lives, an exhibition with 50 contemporary Finnish artists, working with so called "raw art" or "art brut", at the Helsinki City Art Museum's Meilahti Galleries, under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Finland Ms Tarja Halonen. In 2008 Erkki Pirtola opened a new contemporary art gallery in Helsinki.